H2B Extensions

The H-2B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs. A U.S. employer, or U.S. agent as described in the regulations, must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on a prospective worker’s behalf.

Alert: USCIS is no longer accepting petitions filed under the temporary final rule (PDF) increasing the FY 2018 numerical limit on H-2B nonimmigrant visas. USCIS will reject and return any petitions received after June 6, 2018 that were not selected in the lottery, as well as any cap-subject petitions. Petitions accepted for processing will have a receipt date of June 11, 2018. Premium processing service for these petitions begins on that receipt date. Only employers whose petitions were accepted will receive receipt notices.

USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions with start dates for FY 2018 that are exempt from, or not counted towards, the congressionally mandated cap. USCIS will consider petitions requesting an employment start date on or after Oct. 1, 2018, towards the FY 2019 cap. These petitions will be subject to all eligibility requirements for FY 2019 H-2B cap filings.


Regarding Extensions

Generally, USCIS may grant H-2B classification for up to the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification.   H-2B classification may be extended for qualifying employment in increments of up to 1 year each.   A new, valid temporary labor certification covering the requested time must accompany each extension request.  The maximum period of stay in H-2B classification is 3 years.

A person who has held H-2B nonimmigrant status for a total of 3 years must depart and remain outside the United States for an uninterrupted period of 3 months before seeking readmission as an H-2B nonimmigrant.  Additionally, previous time spent in other H or L classifications counts toward total H-2B time.

Exception: Certain periods of time spent outside of the United States may "interrupt" an H-2B worker's authorized stay and not count toward the 3-year limit.  See  the Calculating Interrupted Stay for H-2 Classifications Web page for additional information.


Interesting Facts: 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has compiled this Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 report on H-2B nonimmigrants from information provided by Department of State (DOS), Department of Labor (DOL), and three components within DHS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
This report includes data for each half of FY 2016.

- A total of 85,2021 aliens were issued H-2B visas or otherwise acquired H-2B status in FY 2016.
- 84,626 H-2B visas were issued by DOS.

The top five H-2B visa issuance countries in FY 2016 were:
1. Mexico – 72.2%
2. Jamaica – 11.3%
3. Guatemala – 4.3%
4. South Africa – 2.3%
5. Great Britain and Northern Ireland – 1.4%

- 280 requests for change of status to H-2B were approved by USCIS. In such cases, a visa is not required.
- 296 crossings of visa-exempt H-2B workers were processed by CBP.


Please visit USCIS for more info.